An Ode to Brown’s: On Campus Dining

As a College of Natural Resources Student, I am a simple woman. I like public transportation, sustainable energy, and Brown’s. This small on campus eatery in the middle of the College of Natural Resources area of campus, nestled between the Genetics and Plant Biology Building and Morgan Hall is the home of the best use of Flex Dollars. Flex Dollars are part of the on campus meal plans, the other portion being swipes to go into dining hall. Though as a sophomore I no longer have a meal plan, my freshman year palette was shaped by Brown’s. Locally sourced organic food and kombucha on tap are a staple of this wonderful, beautiful place.
While there are three Peet’s Coffee locations on campus, the one in Brown’s is the best. The lack of heavy foot traffic allows the baristas to put artistry and care into the drinks. I have yet to get a better cappuccino, best paired with a chocolate chunk cookie: my favorite four pm snack on Monday afternoons right before my freshman seminar.

The lunch menu at Brown’s invites a swath of environmental students leaving their 11 am classes. I learned very quickly to be able to time the lunch rush. If I ordered at exactly 11:45, I would get my soup (which changed every day) and salad just before the noon lunch rush, getting comfortable in my sunlit booth to work on homework just before the quiet cafe turned hectic. It became rare for me to not run into someone I knew the days I spent my lunch hour in Brown’s. I connected with people from clubs and classes, being able to chat about everything and anything.

Though I most often ate lunch there, the breakfasts at Brown’s were my absolute favorite. After an unfortunate heartbreak, I got into an exercise kick, determined to channel my emotions into healthy habits. The most ridiculous this manifested itself for me was the morning I decided to go with my good friend Jason on a 6 am run on campus. I hadn’t wanted to go THAT early, but Jason was determined to be the first one at Brown’s that morning. I didn’t understand why, thinking that it couldn’t be that big of a deal. But after running a mile and sitting down with the smoked applewood bacon, perfectly over easy eggs, and wholewheat toast with jam and butter, I understood. Let me just say, I never knew the importance of good butter until I went to Brown’s for breakfast. The butter was handmade by a local farm and has completely ruined regular butter for me. The subtle flavors make all of the difference in the world, ruining all toast for me.

Brown’s embodies the spirit of the college of natural resources with its organic locally sourced food, herb garden, and comfortable naturally lit atmosphere. Little details like the on tap sparkling water (free of course) and on tap kombucha (not free, but I can dream, can’t I?) make this place what it is. The warm smile of the baristas and chefs brighten up my difficult days. Students sit at the tables studying. I remember the time I accidentally spilled my entire cup of coffee on the floor: a truly brilliant move on my part. Immediately four different people got up and helped me clean it up, one of them even offering to pay for me to get another cup of coffee. It was absolutely ridiculous and somehow one of my favorite experiences at Brown’s.

I didn’t think it was possible to have such a strong connection to a restaurant, especially not one that I could use my dining dollars for. But here I am, sitting at home, craving that rosemary brie grilled cheese on sourdough and all it represents. I will return…

 

~Kaelyn (she/her/hers): Geography, Society & Environment 34.3816° N, 119.3396° W~

Kaelyn Schlegel

Author: Kaelyn Schlegel

Hello all! I am a second-year at Cal studying Society & Environment as well as Geography, coming from the small town of Ojai, California. Beyond being a campus ambassador, I am involved in student advocacy and community service. Ask me about 37.8751° N, 122.2387° W